Throughout this church year I have sensed that God is calling the people of St. Mark’s to:
Know God’s Story 2. Imitate Jesus 3. Discern the Holy Spirit
I have therefore sought in my sermons to bring out how the Scriptures for the week are inviting us to do so. Some weeks it is all three. Some weeks it is just one.
For Lent this year we will be focusing on Imitating Jesus by doing what he did. Since we are working our way through the Gospel of March this Epiphany and Lent, and since in Mark Jesus is always “on the way” to the cross, and since on the way he is preaching the Good News, healing the sick and casting out demons, we will practice doing those three things as well, with a 20th century update.
I believe that every single person has been called by God to do these same three things:
To bring good news. The best good news that you can communicate is what God has done for you. However, it is enough to just speak good news. The affliction of our age is that we have so many ways and means to get news from around the world that we do so. By definition, news is information and stories about problems, ills, and tragedies. When we refrain from passing on or commenting about every ill news we hear and we tell of that which is good, we change the world.
To heal the sick. Every one of us wants to do significant things and to be a significant person. This innate human characteristic is God in us. Every single one of us has gifts that are unique to us. It is not just those who bring medical healing who heal. Our life experiences are the places where we have overcome challenges, received restoration, and discovered wholeness. Where our brokenness has been healed, or is in the process of being healed, is where we heal the world.
To cast out demons. There is evil and wrong in the world. So much so that it can seem overwhelming at times. But, we are not called to save the world—that is Jesus’ work. Our calling is to know what breaks our heart, to confront and counter the evil that causes our broken hearts with the faith, hope and love of God. We are not to be apathetic or hopeless. The One who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world.
Lent is the season in the church year when we engage in spiritual exercises to better be able to do these three things. There are both exercises of disengagement—like fasting, silence or solitude—and exercises of engagement, like works of charity, special monetary donations, or random acts of kindness. You are probably already considering what exercises God is calling you to do this Lent. However, one of the spiritual exercises that we at St. Mark’s will do is to engage in a specific act of service that will be presented each week of Lent. Come to worship to learn more and to participate.